Chapter 1 - Just When We Thought Life Was Back To Normal
"Me, I, he, him, boy, fabulous, vain?" I ventured.
"What are you trying to say?" Shane asked, putting on his best fake hurt expression, holding his hand to his chest.
"If you're trying to clutch your heart, you might want to move your hand over a bit to the left."
"I cut meat at a restaurant; do you think I care where my heart is?"
"Just keep going, I want to get it. So it's a movie, two words... And I don't have a clue after that."
Shane pointed toward himself, followed by a dramatic gesture down his body. The more actions he did, the more confused I got.
"I don't know, do something else!"
"Fine." He brought his hand to the space two inches above his head and looked up as if he was afraid.
"Tall? Yes, tall!"
After he made a 'close...' gesture, I knew what the first word was.
"Big! It's big!" I was shouting now, but I didn't care.
"Yes!" He applauded; clearly proud of himself, though it should have been me that was proud.
"What do you have anything to do with 'big'?" A few years ago I would have considered Shane as terrifyingly tall, but now that I had grown a few inches in the past two years, I was starting to get used to his height – now it was just average.
"Just a second, you'll understand." He held up two fingers.
"Second word. Big...em, big baby?" His arms were positioned as if he was cradling a newly born baby. Nodding, he then pointed toward himself, then back to cradling the baby, then pointing, then cradling, then...
"Father, dad, daddy! Big Daddy!" For the first few seconds I was quite satisfied with myself, until I realised what he had meant at the very beginning. I crossed my arms. "Big Daddy, really?"
His face lightened up with a mischievous smile. I just shook my head and looked at him with the most serious and disapproving face I could muster.
He walked toward me, placing a kiss on my cheek when he reached me. Taking my left hand in his right, he pulled me up off the sofa. I could still feel the weight of the ring that perched on my finger. It was a comforting souvenir whenever I was worried about something, which wasn't very often anymore. Things were running smoothly, and life with the vampires had never been better.
"That's a lovely ring you have on your finger, Madame," Shane began in his terrible English accent. "Tell me, who could possibly be so thoughtful, considerate and have such a striking taste in accessories? You must be the luckiest woman in the world."
"Hmm. How I managed to fall in love with that terrible English accent and a guy so vain is beyond me. Anyway, it's my turn. And I think it's a very good choice." I flashed a huge, toothy smile and took the stage.
"Movie," Shane said as I made the filming gesture. "Two words," he continued when I held up two of my fingers.
After holding up two fingers, I began doing the motion that Shane had been doing in his turn.
"Small?" This earned him a devil stare, but we both knew that there was a smile shining behind my eyes.
Pointing to myself, I produced a beautiful smile.
Shane stood up and strode toward me, and my face clouded with bewilderment. Before I could speak, Shane took me in his arms and rested his head against mine. Instinctively, my head leaned on his shoulder.
In my ear he murmured, "Pretty Woman, the one and only."
When I smiled, I could feel his smile spread as well. Shane pulled away slightly so that our faces were inches apart. Looking directly into my eyes, he told me, "Claire Danvers, the one and only Pretty Woman in my life. Apart from Eve of course, because if I don't say that then she'll get mad at me," and he was serious when he said it, which made me giggle. And when I giggled, Shane smiled. "Every melody that leaves your mouth, I love. Every kiss that you grant me, I crave. Every day that I wake up with you lying by my side, no matter how dishevelled or unusual you appear, I wonder how I could be so lucky to love you. How I could be so lucky to have married you. How I could be so lucky to call you mine. I love you, Claire Danvers Collins. And I always will."
I stood there in his arms, feeling his hand caress my cheek. I was speechless, breathless, and so shocked that my first reaction was to kiss him. And I did.
Then, finally, when we parted, even more breathless than before, Shane exhaled a long, wonderful sigh. "So you liked it?"
I stared at him as if he were crazy, which was then exactly what I thought. "Are you crazy? It was amazing, and extremely cheesy which just made it all the better."
His sigh this time sounded tremendously relieved. "Thank God. I've been working on it for days, I eventually got that and I knew that it was perfect because I meant every word."
"Wait a second," I began, "You've been working on it for days? That doesn't sound like you."
"What's going on?" And I could see in his eyes that he wanted to tell me, but for some reason he didn't at the same time.
"What happened to 'be careful what you say'?" He muttered to himself. Then he looked up, and I saw the defeat in his eyes. "I'd sort of arranged a honeymoon thing, you know, since we never did anything after the wedding."
"What about Amelie and Oliver? Do they know?" They wouldn't allow someone to leave Morganville for something as insignificant as a honeymoon.
"Actually, they suggested it. So they're all for it, we have consent and everything – and I still find it ridiculous that we need to get their consent to do something, it's pathetic." After he realised that he had gotten off the topic of conversation, he looked at me and asked, "Yes?"
"Where would we be going?"
"That part has to stay a surprise, or it would totally spoil it."
"I guess I can live with that," I smiled, kissing him on the cheek. Then we sat back on the sofa, bickering about movies and vanity – Claire's ear on Shane's shoulder.
Four minutes later, the door slammed open, followed by a loud, "I'm home! I thought I would be generous and decided to bring food! And I hope you didn't miss me too much while I was away." It was Eve, the happiness and glee taking away any sign of Goth.
"We've been filling up our misery with a very terrible game of charades," I shouted back.
"I feel so sorry for you, but this will cheer you up!" Eve appeared in the living room, running toward the centre of the room. "Auw," she cocooned, leaning her head to the right. "You two love birds are so cute, you know that?" She held hand to her heart and smiled an incredibly merry smile.
"That, Shane is how to properly hold your hand to your heart," I noted, pointing towards Eve and her correct positioning of the heart.
"Forget where the heart was again?" Eve mocked.
"Biology isn't exactly my strong point. And anyway, I cut meat in a restaurant..." Shane started.
"Do you think I care where my heart is?" Eve and I both recited with fake low voices and scrunched up faces.
"That, ladies, could hurt a man's feelings," he lectured.
"Okay! Okay!" After a dramatic sigh, he said, "What was the thing you wanted to tell us." It was useless though, because Eve and I were both bent over laughing, our faces like tomatoes. "Women," Shane muttered, and began to stand up, when the door banged open yet again and a rushing Michael entered the living room – stopping when he saw the current situation.
"Um, guys, I hate to interrupt the fun, but we've got a problem."
Everybody's attention was on Michael, the way it would have been if he had his guitar and was sitting on the stage of Common Grounds.
"Amelie's been kidnapped."